Bjork is king for a day for Eagles
It's a game Reed Bjork is not likely to forget.
"Seniors always remember their homecoming games,'' said Rochester Lourdes coach Mike Kesler. "Especially a win. And I'm sure Reed will remember this one forever.''
Friday afternoon, Bjork was named as homecoming king during a school pepfest.
"Totally unexpected,'' he said. "A real surprise. It was fun going through the ceremony at school but once we got to the field it was all football.''
On the field, Bjork, a 5-10, 150-pound senior strong safety, intercepted two passes — the first two of his varsity career — and both led the Lourdes touchdowns as the Eagles ran away with a surprising 28-7 win over Kasson-Mantorville at the Rochester Regional Sports Stadium.
"What can I say, it was a dream come true,'' said Bjork. "As a kid I went to a lot of Lourdes games and you think about games like this. I've been close (to interceptions) before so I don't know why tonight, but for some reason everything came together.
"The whole atmosphere; playing Kasson, homecoming, beautiful night and everyone was here… I was really pumped up. This is an incredible feeling.''
Lourdes scored on its first possession, going 56 yards on just three plays.
Then K-M mounted its second-longest drive of the night, making a rare appearance in Lourdes territory before Bjork came away with the first of his interceptions, returning it 26 yards to the Eagle 46. Eleven plays later Lourdes scored on a two-yard Adam Lentz run.
K-M held the ball for two plays before Bjork intercepted again, this time at midfield. Lourdes scored seven plays later, making it 21-0 and as it turned out it was an insurmountable lead.
"Reed put in an all-state performance,'' said Kesler. "Playing safety is like playing goalie in hockey. You make the stop or else.''
Bjork, who has qualified for state in the hurdles, played football as a seventh- and eighth-grader but elected not to play as a freshman and sophomore.
"We got him out again last year,'' said Kesler. "You can't teach speed; he's an outstanding athlete.''
K-M passed for 225 yards but was held to just 36 yards on the ground.
"To do that against a team like Kasson, that's good defense,'' said Kesler. "I'm pretty excited about that. We were also balanced on offense (211 rushing and 115 passing) and that's what I like to see.
"Nic had another good game.''
That would be Nic Jensen, the converted senior Lourdes quarterback. He threw for 115 yards and a nifty 30-yard touchdown to tight end Alex Kapraun. He also led the Eagles in rushing, finishing with 92 yards on just eight trips. Jensen scored on a 21-yard bootleg around right end.
"He really makes a difference back there,' said K-M coach Ivan Kroulik. "He puts so much pressure on the defense, where he is capable of pulling the ball in at the last minute or dropping back and passing.
"He did both tonight.''
Kroulik, though, is not totally discouraged,
"We're a work in progress,'' he said. "Lourdes made the plays tonight, and dominated us on both sides of the ball. They deserved to win but I don't think we're that far behind them. But I do know we have to get better and we'll be out there practicing tomorrow morning again at 8:30 to do just that.''
Kroulik thinks Lourdes is capable of going a long way.
"They have to stay healthy,'' he said, "especially the quarterback. Lourdes has an awfully good team and we respect them a lot.''
Next week K-M hosts Stewartville while Lourdes travels to La Crescent in an early-season showdown of Hiawatha Valley League unbeatens.
"I like the way we're playing,'' said Kesler, "but it certainly doesn't get any easier. I know that and the kids know that, too.''